When an animal rescue center took in a stray cat with purple paint on his paws, they assumed the worst. Volunteers believed it was likely the poor kitten had escaped the horrible fate of being used as bait in dog fights. Thankfully, he ended up adopted into a new forever home instead.
It was the spring of 2017 when a cat picked up by Clewiston Animal Control in Collier County, Florida, was taken in by the Naples Cat Alliance rescue center. The poor feline seemed to be in good health. However, the presence of purple paint on his paws was a concern.
Megan Sorbara, president of the rescue, believed it to be a sign that the cat had been involved in dog fighting. “Dog fighters use markers to color the white parts of cats and kittens so they can bet on which color will die first. They are ‘color-coded’ and then thrown to packs of dogs, while these sick barbarians place their bets,” she explained in a Facebook post.
Sorbara had a theory on how the feline she named Mr. Purple Paws ended up with the dog-fighting ring. “He could have been a cat who was owned, but they were just letting him free-roam,” she explained per The Dodo.
Another mystery was how he managed to escape their clutches. “Somebody must have left a door open, or maybe he got away during transport while they’re going wherever they go to have these fights in the middle of the night,” she added.
The woman was glad the lucky feline managed to escape a cruel fate. “This cat has no idea what he escaped, which is basically death,” Sorbara said. “After what he’s been through, and what he could potentially have ended up [as], I can’t wait to give him a chance to give him a good home.”
Sorbara said he had the most lovely character and didn’t seem traumatized by the potentially fatal ordeal. “He doesn’t have a care in the world. He’s Mr. Happy. He was playing with toys in his cage last night. You can just pick him up, carry him around on your shoulder—he likes to be held,” she explained.
The rescue’s original Facebook post became a viral hit with several articles popping around the internet on the back of it warning people of dog-fighting practices.
A representative from the center explained that at the time, they had made an educated guess about the source of Mr. Purple Paw’s strange coloring. “Can we definitively say he was a victim of dogfighting, no. We based it on info and location. It would also make sense because he is a friendly cat and would readily approach a “friendly” stranger, so he would be easy to catch,” the rescue explained, per Snopes.
However, the story of Mr. Purple Paws had an uplifting ending. The cat was adopted soon after being taken in. And according to a February 2020 update on Snopes, he now lives around Pittsburgh with his new owner.